Floodlight and Data Engine
Findings, Analysis and Recommendations
The Denver Foundation
The Piton Foundation
25 September 2012
Table of Contents
Survey sample size
Crosstabs performed on data
A. Executive summary
B. Data Engine analysis
C. Floodlight analysis
D. Recommendations for follow up study
E. Qualtrics Report
The goal of this report is to provide a snapshot of self-identified user needs, capacities and obstacles
regarding effective storytelling and/or data use by a broad base of nonprofit organizations, public sector
groups, social sector academics, foundation grantees and journalists. These findings will inform customer
development strategies to promote demand and long-term product engagement for Floodlight and Data
Wendy Norris, Tekhne Media, Inc.
Survey sample size
530 total respondents completed 339 self-reported surveys representing 313 organizations between 8/8 -
9/15/2012 resulting in a 64 percent completion rate.
Denver Foundation and Piton Foundation grantees, Colorado Nonprofit Association members, Colorado-
based journalists and Denver Office of Strategic Partnerships newsletter subscribers.
Crosstabs performed on data
Story importance vs Story skill Data importance vs Data skill
Story importance vs Staffing Data importance vs Staffing
Organizational focus vs Data access experience
Story skill vs Data skill
Qualtrics online survey software, Qualtrics survey analysis tools, cross tabulation analysis, and Google
Public sector staff member
on the key challenges
of using data
Denver-based health care
organization CEO on the
key challenges for
Data Engine Findings and Analysis
Time is the primary concern for prospective Data Engine users, irrespective of their self-
reported competency in working with data or making evidence-based decisions. The perceived
lack of time to devote to collecting, finding and analyzing data was mentioned more than 80
times by the 339 respondents.
Next, and not unexpected, was the issue of organizational capacity for a significant number of
groups that report difficulty collecting internal and external data sources, and synthesizing the
information into a useable product. Forty percent of survey respondents reported not being
skilled at community data collection.
Why look at crosstabs? Crosstabulated data is useful for showing a side by side comparison of two or
more survey questions to determine how they are interrelated.
Data importance vs Data skill
Data importance vs Staffing
Other: Primarily noted shared staff responsibility or individual staff member working on the data project.
Time, staffing and resources
Access to and lack of trust in local data (relevancy, timeliness, methodology, multiple data
Making accurate/relevant comparisons
Floodlight Findings and Analysis
Why look at crosstabs?
Story importance vs Story skill
Survey raw data
Responses: What is the key challenge your organization is
facing currently in terms of local data and/or storytelling?
A lack of understanding about how critical data impacts storytelling.
A lot of data is not current and hard to find.
Access to current data
Accessibility to real-time data; reconciling conflicting data from different sources, ensuring that
comparison of data is measuring "like" stats / --understanding the impact of storytelling on the
community, balancing sharing of hard data and heartwarming.
Accessing data in the right format (raw, and with longitudinal and cross-sectional dimensions to
provide context). I.e. we can get a number, but we have a hard time providing points of
comparison (time, benchmarking) and transforming those data into performance metrics and
other meaningful gauges.
Accessing relevant and updated data specific to our programs to use in our storytelling.
Accessing the data on a level that is relevant ... with the stipulation that it is health data, so
usually those numbers are known
Accessing the stories.
Analyzing data is super difficult and time consuming. Moreover, for collecting data we need to
work with computer scientists sometimes!
Analyzing internal data, assessing external data to determine new markets for our products.
Conduits for meaningful storytelling (social media is too short-lived, print media is going away,
Acquiring data that is reliable
As a primary data source for public health data, our key challenge is eliciting both the specific
data needs from customers as well as the context in which to best provide/present data.
As far as I know, there isn't a core place or list of places from which we can get local data. The
sources we use vary for each project area and need.
At times the local data doesn't exist.
awareness is a challenge for everyone
Because we don't provide direct services our challenge is how to tell the story in a compelling
Best choice of story telling media, i.e. facebook, website, print, etc.
Capacity building. I need to help formalize and sharpen these skills in my staff.
Centralization of process and understanding what data needs to be mined.
centralizing data from multiple sources to create community dashboard. Very time-consuming to
track down both internal and external data sets
CIVHC is a statewide convener to improve health, health care and lower costs for Coloradans.
We work with organizations that are struggling to get data to make meaningful conclusions
about how their initiatives are working and trying to help them with the resources they need in
order to analyze their data.
collecting enough high quality data to make decisions and communicating the results of those
data collection and interpretation efforts to the public in a way that makes sense
Collecting information and telling our story is expensive. Money
Collecting stories in a central place, and in a common method. For data, we don't necessarily
know what data is out there that could be helpful to us.
Communicating with (hearing from and speaking to) those who need our program but don't think
about us, and who are invisible to us. Finding them! Also, it will be increasingly interesting and
worthwhile to get an accurate picture of the segment of the area population over the age of 60
(and over the age of 75) who are aging well (fit, healthy, able to give and volunteer) compared
to those who are struggling with issue of aging (physically, emotionally, mentally) and who
perceive themselves as "needy."
Complex organization with differing political views (our governing body is a board elected by
citizens), timeliness given the need to involve community relations staff outside the immediate
department, competing priorities of a large agency.
connecting ECE quality to child outcomes
Connecting quantitative data with stories that inspire and motivate people.
Connecting the two without breaching confidentiality
Connecting to the data to tell our story.
Consistency and targeting of messaging.
context is so important in making any story make sense or stick. history and data are not
always enough. the real question is what problem are we trying to solve and how did we get
continuing to access all of the existing data that are available FOR OUR 5 NEIGHBORHOODS,
so that we have data that reflects the specific situations our communities face...while not
duplicating any collection or analysis... We are a very small organization so we need to find and
use all that already exists. Finding data that drill down to the neighborhoods is tough.
Continuity in how local data is reported. Internal capacity to gather/analyze data and how it
relates to Denver Kids. Challenge in storytelling is not relying on a "single story" or painting our
students as limited but rather they come from environments that are sometimes limiting, i.e. how
do you paint the picture of the challenges our students face in a dignified way without
Cost of good external data
current and Relevant data
current stories - reflecting changes in current programs. Keeping web sites and information
current and fluid.
cuts in funding do not reflect decrease in need for services, refugee support has remained static
while costs have gone up, many refugees are successful but that is not the general perception
Data collection is immense for our organization and programs. We have multiple database
systems that we must enter programmatic data into based on the national evidence-based
models that we work with, as well as funder-driven data systems, etc. So, the data challenge
for us is navigating multiple systems, not needing more data or more systems. We are
challenged with telling the "pull at the heart strings" stories because our work is so incredibly
data driven. We tend to talk data much more than anecdotal stories.
Data is a little outdated at times. Drilling down to specifics can be tedious. As a large agency we
have a lot of stories and utilize this mode pretty well.
data is constantly changing; ensuring that our data is current, accurate and relevant to the
Data is outdated, difficult to learn how to export and analyze.
Data is sometimes old and the interface to obtain the data can be difficult.
data must be compiled from a variety of sources
Data not collected, not collected correctly, data lumped together, this makes storytelling
complex, confusing and doesn't present a clear picture
data on the same factor does not reconcile with the resources searched to gather local data.
Data on the county is not easily accessible and for some areas, especially for areas that are
very close to Denver county and Aurora County, it is close to impossible to gather data, have
data available to analyze much less to truly identify needs and plan accordingly to meet those
Data quality and accuracy. Lack of staff at local as well as our organization. Tendency to
overburden our members with requests and thus increasing their workload. An organizational
structure that is cautious, hierarchical and reactionary.
Data sharing agreements
Decreased revenue, increased expectations and workload levels, and not enough staff to get
the work completed.
Denial of the disease and its issues
Designating a central point for data - one position or department - so that data across the City
can be consistent / Don't really know what storytelling is and how it is used
Determining the data needed and finding the right data. Knowing how and when to do
storytelling and where to publish the stories
determining appropriate data to collect and use / finding that data / putting it in our context /
framing the story / telling the story...and to what end
Determining what neighbors want in our neighborhood and informing them of changes.
Developing a broader base for information dissemination
Discriminating what's important to relevant questions affecting community interests and what is
in the best interest in putting kids first.
Don't know where to get the data, and lack of time.
drawing the parallels between the numbers and the human aspect
Due the size and demographics of Elbert County, we have a difficult time telling our story
because a great majority of our data is regional rather than county specific.
Easy access to local data sources--no readily available data banks
Figuring out the right avenue to use to tell the story.
Figuring out what are critical pieces of information when there is so much to sift through
Finding accurate data that provides information regarding our numerous different programs.
Many of our programs change year to year so it's hard to see the trends and retrieve data
Finding and accessing the data
Finding competent people to maintain the data currently collected.
Finding current statistics
finding data to support need for services provided
Finding enough data related our organization.
Finding people that are willing to have their stories told.
Finding people who exemplify a trend. Complex topics on the radio, like housing economics or
energy pollution, need characters and a story in order for listeners to follow along. Radio's
power is in how it uses voice and scenes to bring detailed reporting to life. Especially the NPR
style. Its weakness is an absence of visuals, and its relentless pace. Listeners don't have the
luxury of graphs and tables, or to stop and scan the article if they get lost. Though, honestly,
finding and working with the data in the first place is arguably the tallest hurdle.
Finding places to tell the stories and engage the public to take action as volunteers, donors or
Finding relevant data and effectively interpreting that data to flesh out compelling stories
Finding the right audience
FInding the right community animators/motivators to help put our stories/importance of our data
collection on a larger stage (i.e., not just in front of our regular audiences), identifying new
audiences and organizations/companies that could benefit from our data and stories.
finding the right data (finding accurate data) and finding places for storytelling
Finding the right venues and methods (in person, on the Web...) for stories to be told.
Finding the time to collect data.
FInding the time to develop the story and finding the skilled personnel to put the story together
finding the tools (eg for youtube, other video, live review recordings, etc) and processes to
collect stories from our clinical teams to connect with pts and grateful families within HIPAA and
respecting their sensitive emotional time. We abound in rich stories but don't know well how to
capture and convey them to comfort and inspire others.
Finding ways to value the story, that is helping funders or elected officials understand that the
storytelling aspect is as important as the numbers. Less value attached to the narrative
For storytelling it is getting the stories from the organizations. They don't always know what
makes a compelling story and sharing a story is not always as important as mission-specific
work done on a daily basis.
Fragmentation. Rep Fields sees a city totally different than the residents she describes.
Likewise, the facets I see are totally foreign to her. Every activist in Aurora sees the problem
differently and no one has access to real data to bring together to solve problems. Storytelling is
irrelevant without facts first.
Frustrating the lack of data within DPS that is available to the public to measure impact of grants
Funding to support data collection; acceptance of 'storytelling' in the research community;
questions of rigor and validity in small scale local data
Funds to pay a professional to conduct qualitative interviews and then write a professional
Gathering data for ECE purposes on the section of the community that is not enrolled in any
gathering data quickly enough
Getting a more representative sense of what is happening in the community, in a number of
areas, education, health, economics, etc... rather than just client success stories or general
statistics of need. Poignant, representative stories of needs and successes that are
geographically and culturally relevant are difficult to locate most of the time. Similarly, stories of
processes, so over time, in a certain neighborhood and programmatic domain how are things
changing and developing.
Getting current stories & keeping up with program alum.
Getting currently accurate data.
Getting diverse accounts of what is going on and sustaining these accounts and involving fresh
Getting folks to be an audience, and feeling safe at our site
getting good, recent data - getting data at the block level vs regional getting data on "unusual"
topics - health for example = mapping data easily
Getting information to the people who are affected by the information and receiving a reply. I
am not sure I understand the concept of storytelling but if it is to put together information and
sharing the information it is getting the story in a short and complete format so people will take
the time to read it.
Getting our story out to the community of the services/benefit we provide to seniors including
medical foot care and homemakers that assists seniors to remain in their homes.
Getting professional & independent analysis.
Getting that information to those who need to know and understand it's importance
Getting the information out there. We have a stories to tell, but getting interest in our stories
heard and understood by policy makers and the media is difficult.
Getting the most recent information and relating it to our program services.
Getting up-to-date data
Getting various city and county agencies to share their data. We could tell a great story, if we
had access to their data.
Has to be anonymous.
Having a large enough of an audience to impact and tell our story to
Having accurate data that can be relied upon.
Having accurate information that really paints a picture of the current state of the community.
Can't just easily access that information when needed
Having enough people as an audience at any given time
Having good statewide data on the LGBT community. Implementing ONE data collection
system for the entire organization. Unfortunately different programs use different systems.
Having someone to tell our story to.
Having staff capacity at a time when fundraising has become much more difficult to do the
research and writing that is needed.
having the budget and staffing to cover it
Having the staff capacity, time and financial resources to do both in an effective manner
Having the staff to do the data collection!
How do we compete when there are so many "emergencies" -- fires, shootings, etc. that are
drawing on funds that would otherwise be available to NPOs?
How to engage local news agencies and get them as invested in the story as we are.
I am unsure at this time.
I believe that the key challenge that our organization faces is that occasionally the data
available is not the most recent data collected, so the storytelling could be more accurate and
reflective of the community.
I don't often trust the sources of local data. I question where it comes from, who extracts it and
how. HMIS is a good example. The data isn't accessible and the people who assemble it have a
stake in the game so it doesn't feel objective. The annual point in time survey has good data,
but is constantly put out in the community with a "spin," depending on the politics at the time.
I don't think I'm the one to answer this survey, after all. I use data to conduct research and am
not an administrator in our organization.
I think a key challenge is that there are so many people at GSSW working on different projects
and often using similar sources. i think people are impatient with storytelling for real purposes
and where it could be so useful, they prefer numbers--especially when it comes to our own data
on our own programs and students.
I think our biggest data needs in urban areas have to do with public education and education
related data. Also to a lesser extent data on communities being served by organizations we
tend to support. Education data becoming more readily available, almost to the point that it is a
challenge to figure out what matters most in all of the numbers.
I think that data and storytelling can be two ends of a continuum sometimes - you need
data/evidence but sometimes that kills the individual case study - the story that pulls on your
heartstrings. Sometimes numbers and heartstrings don't interact. Pictures and real life pulls at
I'm not sure exactly what you mean by "local data," so I can't answer this question.
I'm not sure what you mean exactly by "storytelling". Is this social media, stories in the field,
employee stories, client, news?? Nonprofits, especially in the same industries are competing for
some of the same resources therefore "sharing" can be very difficult as well as making inroads
with the people who are the decision-makers. I'm assuming this is a confidential survey...I'm
being very frank because I would be so grateful to have data from different aspects,
perspectives, economics, etc...
In terms of data, it's making sure we can locate the type of data we need. As far as storytelling,
keeping up on Dialogic Reading methods to ensure our teachers are supporting literacy
development at the preschool level.
Individual expertise and knowledge in some of the work we are asked to do. Our work focus and
priorities changes, and both executive and staff often have to discover and learn quickly.
interest from the public, funding on events
It is difficult to find the most relevant set of contextualized data to tell a compelling story. And
more challenges arise when using that story (or a new story if necessary) and tailoring it to the
needs of a specific audience.
IT IS HARD TO ACCESS ACCURATE DATA ABOUT NEEDS; EVEN HARDER TO ACCESS
DATA ABOUT HOW THESE NEEDS ARE ACTUALLY BEING SERVED. FOR INSTANCE,
THERE IS ANECDOTAL DATA (STORIES) ABOUT THE INEFFICIENCIES OF THE FOOD
STAMP PROCESS. MUCH OF THE DATA IS PROTECTED ONE EXPECTS BECAUSE OF
TURF AS MUCH AS REGULATION. BUT WHEN ONE TRIES TO VISIT AND VALIDATE
SERVICE THERE IS LITTLE UNDERSTANDING OF WHY AN OUTSIDER IS INTERESTED. I
HAVE SERIOUS DOUBTS THAT SUCH DATA WILL EVER BE SHARED. FOR INSTANCE,
THERE IS A GREAT DEAL OF OVERSERVING IN LIQUOR ESTABLISHMENTS, BUT NO
ENFORCEMENT EXCEPT ARRESTING THOSE WHO ARE OVERSERVED. IF YOU WANT
MORE EXAMPLES, CALL ME I DOUBT YOU CAN BE EFFECTIVE IN OVERCOMING TURF.
It is hard to get a complete picture of the landscape, in terms of understanding who's doing what
(funders and grantees), and what the disaggregated and aggregated outcomes are.
It is often hard to find the data we need and then takes time to sort through the data.
It's hard to tell stories about kids without doing a composite to protect a child's privacy. Also, we
are sometimes one step removed so collecting the stories through our partners can be difficult.
just has not been a focus in our organization
Keeping local data current
Keeping up with family addresses--high mobility
Knowing what data and stories to present to which kinds of people. We need to appeal to three
different kinds of people - students, parents/teachers, donors/sponsors. Each group is
interested in different aspects of our organization, data, and stories.
Knowing what to collect to appease funders and also help us to share our stories to engage
Knowing where to go. Lack of classes offering writing skills
labor intensiveness of collecting stories.
lack of a story bank
lack of human resources committed to those tasks
Lack of inexpensive software
Lack of knowledge and resources
Lack of knowledge/computer savvy / Inefficient database
Lack of staff and funding
Lack of staff, time, money.
lack of time
Lack of time/resources.
Liability, maintanance issues, and misuse of data.
Linking the data to real lives /
Local data - not easy to glean local data from national sources. Don't have easy, known location
for comprehensive local data. For example, we often have to go to every individual school
district to get some reasonable data about their students served. Another district reports a
different set of data, so it's hard to compare or aggregate data. Would love common data being
kept in a known location or have a source to help point us where specific types of data are
maintained and available.
Local data for four states - to put the need of grantees in context
Local Data: Up-to-date data is not available on regular basis. Customizable reports are not
available. Storytelling: Lack of the right technology and skills to launch a storytelling program in
Local information gathering with a very small staff and faculty who have multiple responsibilities.
Local records/stats are harder to come by than state/national figures. Storytelling isn't a
challenge, but as a newspaper it's just not as valued as accurate journalism.
Locating local data in a timely manner and from the correct source when in a time crunch. Using
our really wonderful stories in a way that touches people and moves them to action on behalf of
lots of statewide data, but not a lot of Northern Colorado data related to unemployment rates,
youth employment, etc..
Making sure that the data and storytelling that our faculty and students gather are truly
community-based and find their way back to the community from which they originate.
Making the case for affordable housing, community services, and other public amenities should
be located near transit. What are the economic benefits (city services, infrastructure savings,
etc.)? What are the social and environmental benefits (increased transit ridership, decrease in
VMT/GHG, better health outcomes, etc) and how do those translate to dollars?
Making the data live the story, or in other words, making the people and community real through
Making the numbers meaningful to the community. Linking the numbers to the work -- strategies
and qualitative data. Helping some community partners and families understand the data.
Getting local data on more specific populations (ie: 0-3 or 0-5). Not having access to cross-
reference certain data points
Manpower to tell the story, time to research to get the data and to craft the story.
Many of the organizations are not familiar with Colorado open record laws, and a few judges
have gone against precedence to rule against releasing information to the Durango Herald.
Most of our good data sources are national, there is very little state or local data that is collected
about our population or that is relevant to our population. The little data that exists is often
corrupted or inaccurate. In terms of storytelling our problem is the large cultural gap between
our community and the rest of the world and creating stories that others can understand.
Most of our work is not a direct service to children or families, which makes it hard for us to
appeal to the public on an emotional level.
Most relevant and up to date
need a redesign in the types of data collected and user -friendly retrieval
need to develop an evaluation model for the organization.
None that I can think of. For local data and storytelling, we typically collect the data ourselves.
I'm not aware of resources that provide that information.
Not all staff are gifted storytellers or recognize opportunities to share information through
Not enough financial resources to collect and disseminate the data in terms of manpower.
Not enough human resources to compile and organize.
Not enough locally specific (neighborhood or municipal level) data re health and behaviors.
Not enough time.
obtaining up to date information to help make final grant decisions and to see where we can
collaborate with other funders
Organizing and coherence
Our challenge is finding the funding to put our presenters out in the public to share their stories.
Our "In Our Own Voice" presentations are a very effective means to tell stories about people
living with mental illnesses; we just lack the resources to provide them to everyone that wants
Our challenges are twofold. First, we need to develop the skills to tell compelling stories about
our work and the impact we are making. Secondly, while we can describe the need in great
detail, we have to honor client confidentiality when we are describing impact. This is particularly
challenging and we need to learn some effective methods of balancing these issues.
Our constituency is mostly low-income women, especially women of color, and being able to
quickly get in touch with members can be a challenge (for example, when we want to share a
story with the media and have a tight timeline). We are also limited by our staff resources, which
limits how many people we can work with to share stories with our organization and with the
media. Same with collecting data - we do this mostly through 1:1 interactions (in person, phone
calls), and we're limited by staff time.
Our efforts are only as refined as the data available to us. It can be challenging to find public
data that directly correlates to Museum goals, our audience and to the needs of that audience.
We work with what we can find. We have spent the last two years conducting our own data
collection efforts through both internal and external surveys, research, public advisory groups
and other means to gather more information specific to our audience and our areas of focus.
We have utilized that data to hone our organizational focus and have crafted our messaging to
support that focus. We would always be interested in ways to more successfully bring those
messages to life through engaging storytelling opportunities.
Our funding sources require that we utilize and report through specific data collection systems.
It is difficult to get any usable data back. None of the data collection systems coordinate with
others so our organization has to in some cases use up to three separate data collection
systems to comply with funding requirements and to collect our own data across many types of
programs and funding sources.
Our key challenge is the limited capacity on a statewide level to translate various sets of data
(academic achievement, education finance, demographics) and the related stories into relevant
community-level vignettes that portray the issues accurately and make them personal to the
average Coloradan. An additional challenge is to utilize data and storytelling in a way that
furthers our organization's mission and strategic goals.
Our neighborhood is very difficult in many ways. People have been let down so many times, and
they are no longer trusting of anybody who knocks on their door, hands them a newsletter or
calls them. Too many nonprofits have come "parachuted" into the neighborhood, making big
promises but never delivering on the promises. I believe the people of this community have
stories they want to share, but they are unwilling to do it with people they don't know. The
history of this neighborhood is being lost daily because our elders are now rapidly dying.
Our organization does not fall easily into one of the predefined human service categories. For
example, we fall somewhere between out-of-home cases and open cases. Therefore, we often
have to make inferences when looking for a control group. We often use foster care statistics as
well. Our organization is excellent at storytelling, but relies on this too much as times.
Our organization is one of the partners that has created Colorado HealthStory,
www.coloradohealthstory.org, and our challenges have been connecting with local partners to
engage with residents to collect stories and creating meaningful ways for us to use the stories to
engender better conversations about health in local communities.
presenting data in a way that is intuitive, accurate, and insightful
Prioritizing and clearing key indicators that demonstrate trends to tell the story and give an
accurate, timely picture of our community
Prioritizing data and having time/resources to create stories and try to get everyone to use
Process to gather all the data and stories is not streamlined and is scattered across the
Public Awareness, School District communications, mailing lists and marketing strategies, grant
Putting it all together to make a compelling story for the counties of Adams and Weld.
Putting the information together in a usable format
Quality, quantity and determining the implications of the data to develop a narrative.
Quantity of data
Reach: we have a great story but need much more exposure and awareness of our programs.
Reaching all the demographic and geographic groups. We tend to hear from only a limited
portion of our community, over and over and over again.
Refining the story, training staff to not focus on data, but stories
Region too small for valid data; time and expertise in storytelling
Resource data, compilation of data, opportunities for sharing local data
Resources needed to deliver the storytelling in a high quality capacity.
Resources to gain access and develop appropriate documents.
Single source for data; for storytelling, training our clients in public speaking
skill in using the technology and the time to invest in the story.
So many areas of data, state and local, we need one centralized place to gather data and keep
data so we do not have to reinvent community surveys. Each group tends to have data
gathering needs, and there is enough distinction in those needs that we tend to redo surveys
and focus groups. However, having a centralized data center would help us look at what has
been obtained and use what has been done. Then, we can create new surveys to gather
specific data. We also have used Omni to help us analyze data. Small counties do not have the
experts to help us look at data and how to organize surveys and interpret our results. We rely
heavily on folks from Omni who have that expertise.
Software!! We would love some sort of Efforts to Outcomes type of client tracking software for
our organization AND community collaborations. In Adams County, the Adams County Youth
Initiative and the Early Childhood Partners of Adams County include many willing partners
who'd be willing to share data to track outcomes client to client, program to program and
community-wide. As we implement a STRIVE cradle to career continuum we'd like to track how
each child performs in Parents as Teachers with Growing Home, then how they do in preschool
at Head Start, then how their kindergarten readiness stacks up, if they participate in after school
programs, get a mentor, get help with food or rent or shelter with their family so that we can
track all the touchpoints and their outcomes and develop a compelling longitudinal picture of our
collective impact on closing the achievement gap. This would help us to tell the story of our
impact, evaluate our impact and hold each other accountable to individual and shared outcomes
and help us to identify and and more fully fund our most effective or critical interventions. Our
community could get through data-sharing negotiations and agreements to help us achieve our
shared goals. Such software would need to meet all the requirements of various partner
programs and funders, but this is not insurmountable. It's already happening in several Promise
Neighborhoods nationally and would enhance our collective impact. This would also allow for
better customer service. Each case worker could access a full history and data related to their
client to offer the most relevant supports, each family wouldn't have to complete the same
intake paperwork at every organization they interact with and organizations could share
ownership for the success of each child.
sometimes challenging to gather data for small areas (city level and lower)
Sometimes it is simply a matter of not having the right data for the story that needs to be told.
That could be a matter of the data not existing, not having the expertise to evaluated the data,
not having access to the data that would facilitate the analysis, or not having relevant data, ie,
there is national but not state or county or zipcode.
Sorry, this survey isn't exactly fit for us. We use data for internal purposes, but we are also a
major provider of data. I'm unclear which side of our operations is being surveyed. For our data
clients, digesting the data is the hardest part. Messaging and storytelling is only challenged by a
lack of financial resources.
SPREADING SKILLS AMONG OTHERS SO WORKLOAD DOES NOT FALL OR DEPEND
UPON SMALL NUMBER
Staff capacity & Financial resources
Staff time and designated individual who can keep current. We have plenty of stories a
challenge is to ge it done.
Staff time to devote to it. We cannot afford to hire a data analyst.
Staff time to gather stories and data
Staffing of technical people to pull information in a reliable manner
Storytelling is not very well known as an instrument for success.
strategies of exporting information
Telling great stories but also doing good measurement
The ability, on a consistent basis, to take neighborhood/community data and translate it into a
the appropriate use of the data and the stories and how to distribute it
The challenge is the confidential information or privacy surrounding our population (children who
have been abused or experienced trauma and neglect)
The data we want to gather doesn't seem to exist / no challenges related to storytelling
The demographics of our membership base.
The enterprise GIS and permit information systems have taken years to develop and are only
now becoming robust. 2. The bigger issue is reluctance on the part of the organization to
widely share information perceived to reflect poorly on the community (e.g., income and
education levels, graduation rates). That is slowly changing and we hope that not only will this
information be broadcast but it will be reviewed periodically as a set of community indicators.
The greatest challenge is connecting stories that are very qualitative in nature to data. For
example, how do we make the case for safer bike routes when bike data is not nearly as robust
as data on automobiles.
The key challenge is probably incorporating local data into our program goals and planning and
The local data is not an issue; however, the storytelling is. Because of our confidentiality
requirements and our strong desire to protect clients (as well as not have them feel they "have
to" tell their story to our constituents, we find storytelling (in the first person) difficult. We know
that this will help our donors and the community engage in a stronger way. Overcoming this
important barrier is difficult and has been discussed repeatedly over the years.
The obvious: Bringing data alive through personal stories. Often key data points don't lend
themselves to storytelling.
The prolonged recession has put greater pressure on women with low incomes so 1) time is at a
premium because many are now working 2 jobs to stay financially stable and have little or no
time to participate in research or story telling and 2) many are presenting with more severe
symptoms of depression and anxiety due to the stress of the recession so priority is given to
offering mental health counseling services in these times, because many of the larger local
mental health programs for low income individuals are overtaxed. We offer babysitting to
address the child care barrier to holding focus groups, etc. and funding for this is tight right now.
The right level of storytelling (personal; yet with sufficient data to make a case. Doing this
online as well as in person.
The storytelling is with donors, it is storytelling to the partners in the community.
The time investment required for data collection and analysis
THe time it takes to ask for and analyze the data. Once we have it it is easy to gather the story.
The time it takes to gather and interpret data.
The Whittier Neighborhood Association has been through and continues to go through constant
change: being a volunteer group the membership changes, and the neighborhood has changed
dramatically in the 25 years I've been a member. Many new members have no idea of even the
most recent history, of the organization or the neighborhood. This is where storytelling could
make a crucial difference, but we have no resources with which to coordinate that.
There are almost no data collected for parents, household, early childhood education, etc. of
children going to DPS.
There is much conflicting data about veterans and places claim "best practices" that are not.
There is so much data is is difficult to sort through it to access what is most relevant/useful to
our purposes. We have the potential for generating a huge supply of stories. Getting them out
where they can be useful, informative and purposeful is always a challenge.
There's not much data available on the issues of victimization of people with disabilities. We
rely on storytelling a lot. And use of our data that we collect in our service delivery. WE are so
small that we do not dedicate much time/funding for this.
Time and capacity to do the work.
Time and human resources. Access to resources to tell stories. While important to our
organization, it's not our primary mission, so it's hard to make the time to make this happen.
Time and resources.
Time constraints in accessing local data. It takes time to locate the information you want, you
might have to go through a number of sources before you find the information that is most
applicable. Storytelling - again, the time factor. Additionally, getting our stories out to a wider
Time constraints in compiling/analyzing the data
Time to put it all together
TIme, resources and know how.
Time, talent and $$$ to find, and develop in a format that works for us and community
TIME! We aren't adequately resourced to be able to gather the data and community stories
and/or to train our students to do this important part of our work.
Timely data from state
to help turn data into stories. / Here's an analogy. The folks who run Ann Taylor and the Loft
retail boutiques have created a profile about a fictitious woman called Ann and say Maria. They
know a lot of data about the customers at both stores. But it wasn't until they compiled that data
into a profile of who the ideal shopper is for both stores, and gave her each a name, that they
used Ann and Maria in making decisions - would Ann buy that? Would Maria wear this? /
Wouldn't it be great if we could do that for education and healthcare users?
too much data, not always knowing what data sets work best, not enough manpower (or money
to pay them)
Tracking data on demographic trends (age, income, # in household), housing trends (rental vs.
ownership, for example) and how those trends tell a story of either a community in decline or on
Training on good storytelling.
Tying it together to create a compelling story without boring the reader with all the stats!
unable to get the data to build the story
Understanding how funding impacts issues on an aggregate basis. We still don't know if we are
making a difference, without relying on anecdotal evidence.
understanding how the paradigm has shifted--sometimes we don't believe what the data is
Up to date data is hard for us to access; we are a very small agency that works with
economically poor individuals who have (or are) experienced homelessness and work on
environmental issues at the same time. The volume of information from a national or
international level is often more available than the local information, at least to us. This may be
because we do not have access to studies that may not be widely disseminated, or are not
available to us online.
up to date factual data relating to the populations we serve.
Up to date numbers on communities and a clearly defined need within
up to date data is not always available and no one is skilled at taking the stories, making them
confidential and conveying the essence
Using data to be predictive
Various. We serve agencies that serve individuals so we don't always have direct access to the
individuals for their demographics and have to rely on the agencies.
We always need more funding to collect and report data and stories.
We are a large institution; difficulties likely to vary by department, academic discipline and
We are a small organization and do not collect community data. We do collect and present data,
tell stories, etc. about our own organization.
We are a volunteer organization with a board made up of people with various skills, but none
with a deep research background. Census reports are hard to drill down into so the Piton
Foundation census data is the most helpful of all. There have been many times when getting
current information and comparisons with the past on demographics, socioeconomic status,
homeownership and other information would have really helped in making decisions and
policies. Our neighborhood has a rich, multicultural history that is being lost as it gentrifies and
the older residents move into assisted living or pass away. We have a couple of videographers
in the neighborhood and people who have journalism backgrounds, but getting the time and
financial resources to do a major project are limiting. These are rich stories that we will soon
lose without an organized effort.
We are excellent storytellers, but we lack the skills to collect and analyze data to help drive our
storytelling. Because of the demands of our work, it's difficult to take the time to find and collect
data, then know how best to analyze and present it. We need training or to have a brilliant data
analyst on staff full time.
We are just beginning to collect data and do data reporting. We are still locating and building
data bases. Some data is easy to find and access, I know a lot more exists, but finding it and
asking for it has been tricky. A lot of data is embedded in PDF files, making it difficult to extract.
We are just developing a course on storytelling and narrative justice. How to merge theory and
praxis is the biggest challenge, praxis meant to include local, community context of speaking
We are not a direct service organization and it is difficult to talk about the impact we have
because we are one layer removed
We are so data driven that we miss the storytelling piece. Personally I think it is valuable but it
would be a culture shift. Data is all over the place...it would be nice to have it centrally located.
We do not have the manpower to put together an effective newsletter on a regular basis to tell
our story to the community.
We don't have a key challenge per se but are always looking to improve. I just purchased the
book The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human and we are working to improve how
we communicate our research data and replication outcomes in local communities and
We don't have easy, "go to" resources for the specific stuff we need, and even though the good
folks at Piton or DPS are just a phone call away, it always feels like a burden to call and ask.
On the storytelling front, it feels like we need some guidance on how to really do it well for a few
times, and then with templates and tools and a general "storytelling mindset" we can probably
take it from there.
We don't make the time/resources for local data - it should be a larger priority than it is.
Storytelling is a big priority and doesn't seem to be a challenge for the organization
We don't really know much about it.
We don't use much of either
We feel we are pretty well informed.
We have been using HMIS as a database and it is now impossible to get data from. Storytelling
is limited by our business. We are generally overwhelmed with clients so the focus is on
meeting their needs and not on meeting agency needs.
we have lots of data - so converting that into interesting, compelling and meaningful
"information" that is shareable. / taking TIME to turn all the great stories we have into something
we need more localized data sets (hard to get). matching stories to data trends (what story do
you tell and why).
We need up-to-date information about specific social and health care issues. Not everything is
We serve children in four of Denver's public housing neighborhoods. It's hard to get data for that
demographic, e.g. our Lincoln Park site is usually included in reports about the Auraria-Lincoln
Park neighborhood yet people in public housing present different issues and data then all the
CU students. Also, as our children attend different schools it's very hard to get information about
progress data and graduation rates. For storytelling, there is the conflict with privacy issues.
We serve homeless youth which is an incredibly transient, under reported population. Often
times, data about homelessness is collected on chronically homeless adults, families, and vets.
The homeless youth population is frequently overlooked. Additionally, due to the nature of
homelessness, it is difficult to get any good data on this population throughout the community in
a consistent fashion.
We struggle in making the story telling competing for a graphically inclined audience.
Integrating graphic, photographic and video work into the arc is critical but requires both a
budget and highly skilled professionals.
We think personal stories are the best way to illustrate economic problems but we do not have a
large database of people to draw from for these stories.
We're OK on data collection and analysis as it relates to our planning. The storytelling challenge
is to just take the time to interview our borrowers and their clients to document the impact we
are having---with limited staff resources this always gets pushed to the back burner
What and how many ways are there to do this?
Where to go to gather the information, both data and storytelling.
While we can access county-level data on important indicators from sources like the American
Community Survey, drilling down to a finer level of detail is often difficult due to a lack of reliable